Texting and driving is a modern plague that kills 11 teenagers every day and causes 1.6 million crashes a year. That merely typing LOL or TTYL can result in injuries and death is probably the darkest and most absurd side effect of our nationwide phone addiction. So far, 39 states and D.C. have outlawed all texting behind the wheel, but it’s a tough law to reinforce.
An inventive new PSA by a crew of artists called TextsWreck aims to spread awareness of these dangers–-ironically, through an animated emoji text message campaign. “Stop texting and driving, with a text,” they urge. “We couldn’t think of a better place to put our message than in people’s text bubbles,” says designer Nick Cade. “So we created the world’s first text against texting and driving and animated it using a language we all text in–emoji.”
In the animated GIF, a tiny cartoon car rolls along with its distracted driver texting, indicated by a familiar ellipsis-in-a-speech-bubble. The car crashes into a cyclist, kills a puppy, and then finally collides with another car in a fiery blast. Two winking ghost emoji with their tongues hanging out fly up from the wreckage. No real car crash will ever be this cute, but the animation gets the message across in a direct, engaging way, using visuals rather than statistics.
“We relied on our resident emoji expert, New York-based Zoe Mendelson, to make sure our animation told the perfect story,” says Cade. “Hopefully, this PSA will make a difference.”
To receive and then send this emojified PSA text, visit TextsWreck.com from your phone. The group has also created a petition to get the TextsWreck burning car symbol into Apple’s official emoji library as part of their effort to “stop texting and driving forever.” You can sign the petition here.